Council approves busy Somerset roundabout improvement plans
Much-needed improvements to a busy Somerset roundabout have moved a step closer following full council approval.
Sedgemoor District Council announced its intention in January to borrow up to £4.7M to turn the existing Dunball roundabout into a “throughabout”, to unlock new housing and ease traffic between Bridgwater and the M5.
The council’s executive approved the proposals on January 27, following a failed bid to secure money from the government’s housing infrastructure fund.
The full council has now given the project its backing, meaning detailed design work can be brought forward.
The Dunball roundabout currently links the M5 to Bridgwater town centre via the A38 Bristol Road, as well as providing access to local services and the Hinkley Point C park and ride site.
The proposed “throughabout” involves building a new road through the centre of the roundabout, allowing traffic between the two busiest points to move straight across, freeing up space that could be filled by other drivers.
The new road through the middle of the roundabout to directly connect the A38 with the motorway junction.
Somerset County Council claimed a similar throughabout installed in Yeovil (as part of the western corridor improvement scheme) would reduce queues by 75 per cent.
Highways England – which is responsible for maintaining the M5 – has said it will not support any new major developments in and around Bridgwater until the Dunball roundabout has been upgraded.
By upgrading the roundabout, the district council aims to deliver 1,323 homes (including 350 affordable homes) across numerous sites, as well as the development of the Peninsular 23 commercial site on the A38 Bristol Road.
Addressing the full council virtually on Monday afternoon (February 22), council leader Duncan McGinty said: “There is a particular blight upon development in the area at the moment due to the inadequacy of the highway network.
“This will signal our intention to unblock the area and move forward to greater economic growth.”
The full council voted unanimously to approve the proposal with minimal debate.
The council has already secured small amounts of funding for the project, including £850,000 from the Gravity business site and £135,000 from the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to fund the initial design work.
The total amount being borrowed may end up being less than £4.7M, with the council continuing to lobby central government for further funding.
While the district council will be funding the project, it will ultimately be delivered by the county council (which is responsible for highway matters) through its chosen contractors.
No time-scale has yet been published for when the improvements could be implemented.